In a keynote speech, the US Secretary of State warns against Chinese attempts to change the international order. Blinken accuses the country of having become "more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad". Beijing dismisses the allegations as defamation.
A keynote speech by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on China's aspirations to become a great power has increased tensions between Washington and Beijing. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing accused Blinken of "slander". The US chief diplomat had previously described China as "the greatest long-term challenge to the international order". Under President Xi Jinping, the Asian country has become "more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad."
All countries in the world are called upon to fight to preserve the current international order, said Blinken on Thursday (local time) at George Washington University in Washington. His speech was the US government's most comprehensive statement on China since President Joe Biden took office. The US Secretary of State acknowledged that there was a growing consensus that other states could not change China's path from the outside. "China is the only country that has both the will to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, military and technological power to do so."
"We are not trying to block China as an influential player in the world, or to stop China - or any other country - from developing its economy or representing the interests of its people," Blinken said. "We don't want a conflict or a new Cold War. On the contrary, we want to avoid both." But the current global order must be defended, Blinken emphasized. These included international treaties and agreements.
Among other things, Blinken accused China of escalating tensions in the conflict over Taiwan. The People's Republic claims the island as part of its territory. China's "rhetoric" is "increasingly provocative," said the US chief diplomat.
The government in Beijing "strictly" rejected the US Secretary of State's allegations. The speech "spreads false information, exaggerates the Chinese threat, interferes in China's internal affairs, and slanders China's domestic and foreign policies," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. Blinken's comments showed once again that Washington wanted to "constrain and suppress China's development and maintain US supremacy."
China also announced new naval maneuvers in the South China Sea for Saturday. These should take place almost 25 kilometers off the coast of southern China's Hainan Province, the Maritime Safety Authority said. An area of around 100 square kilometers will be sealed off for shipping for five hours. In the South China Sea, there are always tensions between the countries bordering the country, and Beijing regularly wants to use maneuvers to underpin its disputed territorial claims.